LOREX People

LOREX: Participant Biographies

Principal Investigators

Adina Paytan - Research Professor, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz

Adina Paytan is a research professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her principal research interests lie in the fields of biogeochemistry, chemical oceanography, and paleoceanography.  The goal of her research is to use the chemical and isotopic records enclosed in diverse earth materials to study present and past biogeochemical processes. This research spans a wide range of temporal (seasons to millions of years) and spatial (molecular to global) scales.  An overarching goal of this research is to understand the processes and feedbacks operating in the Earth System and how they relate to global changes in climate and tectonics. In addition, Adina is interested in natural and anthropogenically induced perturbations that affect biogeochemical processes and their impact on humans and the environment. Adina considers education and outreach as integral components of her scientific activity and dedicates time to providing professional development and mentoring opportunities to students of all ages and early-career scientists. Adina is an ASLO Fellow and served as an associate editor for Limnology and Oceanography Methods. You can contact her at apaytan@ucsc.edu

Adrienne Sponberg
Adrienne Sponberg - ASLO Director of Communications and Science

Adrienne Sponberg holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied the impacts of wintering waterfowl on aquatic food webs. Since first moving to Washington, D.C. as a Knauss Sea Grant fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, she has used her expertise in aquatic science and communication skills to help societies devise and implement programs to share science with policymakers and broader audiences.

She is currently the Director of Communications and Science for ASLO. Her responsibilities include society communications (including social media), education, policy, and outreach. She serves as Editor in Chief of the society’s quarterly member journal, the L&O Bulletin, and is co-PI on the NSF-funded LOREX program. You can contact her at sponberg@aslo.org

Michael Pace - ASLO President

Michael Pace's research focuses on aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on food web interactions and biogeochemistry. He works in a variety of environments including lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and coastal lagoons. He is currently conducting research on resilience of aquatic ecosystems, effects of invasive species, synchrony of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and harmful algal blooms. His work considers questions about the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems and the causes and consequences of environmental change.

Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. He did his graduate work at the University of Georgia receiving an M.S. in Zoology and Ph.D. in Ecology. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University and an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii. Prior to joining the University of Virginia in 2008, he was a Senior Scientist and Assistant Director at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. He is currently a Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia. He was recognized by ASLO with the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal in 2009 and by the International Society of Limnology with the Naumann-Thienemann Medal in 2016. During 2018-2020, he is serving as President of ASLO. You can contact him at president@aslo.org

Linda Duguay - ASLO Past-President

Linda Duguay received her BA in Biology from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and her MS and Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami (UM), Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. She is the Director of the University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program and Director of Research for the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at USC.  She was also elected as President of ASLO in 2014 and currently serves as Past President (2018-2020).

Linda's research interests are in plankton ecology of ctenophores, algal invertebrate symbioses, benthic ecology with a focus on disturbance in dredge material sites and problems of the urban ocean such as water quality and changing climate effects on ecosystems. You can contact her at past-president@aslo.org

LOREX and Science Communication Fellow

Eilea Ruth Knotts
Eilea Knotts - LOREX Fellow

Eilea is a marine phytoplankton ecologist who completed her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina. She studied carbon acquisition strategies as a mechanism for microalgal community structuring processes. Eilea also enhanced her studies by participating as a member of the first Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) cohort.

During her graduate studies, Eilea gained experience in communication across multiple platforms. She was the social media coordinator for the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society, the Biological Sciences Department at the University of SC, and her department’s graduate association. These opportunities provided insight into what was necessary to engage the public as well as the hitches commonly experienced. During the fellowship, Eilea plans to gain insights into the management of science organizations by assisting with the LOREX program as well as develop pathways that engage the scientific community to utilize communication tools. She also hopes to provide higher awareness on scientific issues and incentive to participate in the discussion. You can contact her at Knotts@aslo.org

Former LOREX Fellows

Spring 2019

Fall 2019

Brittany Schieler

Maha Cziesielski

LOREX Participants

Umeå University, Sweden

Climate Impacts Research Centre

Amanda Curtis
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Amanda is a third-year PhD student in the Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her previous research has examined questions around invasive species, climate change, ecotoxicology, and currently she is using environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool for conservation. Currently, her PhD research focuses on basic methodological questions around in situ detection of eDNA, like the influence of stream flow on detection probability. In addition, she is using eDNA to detect and map the distribution of an imperiled salamander, which will hopefully be useful for directing future conservation actions. For Amanda’s LOREX project, she will be working with Dr. Jonatan Klaminder at Umeå University, to combine paleo-ecotoxicology techniques with novel DNA technology (ancient DNA (aDNA) and eDNA) to assess the effects of multiple stressors (e.g. temperature, mercury (Hg) concentrations) over time in a Swedish lake. By integrating aDNA and eDNA with paleo-ecotoxicology techniques, the work will provide a novel assessment of the effects of environmental change and contaminants on aquatic communities through time. She is very excited to work with Dr. Klaminder’s lab to learn new techniques, to exchange knowledge on Hg and eDNA methodology, and to learn as much as she can from other brilliant scientists. In addition, she looks forward to making new connections with other aquatic scientists, to learn how to build lasting international collaborations, and most importantly to have fun conducting her research!

Jemma Fadum
Colorado State University

Jemma is a second year PhD student at Colorado State University in Dr. Ed Hall’s lab. This summer she will be traveling to Sweden to work with Dr. David Seekell at Umeå University. One aspect of limnology she is particularly interested in is the relationship between climate change and stratification and how that relationship plays out in communities dependent on local lakes. To examine the concept of stratification as a key component of lakes as natural resources, she and Dr. Seekell have proposed a synthesis of between-region and between-lake factors of two study locations, one tropical and one arctic. Though exceptionally different systems, Lake Yojoa, Honduras and the Abisko region of Sweden are both impacted by climate change in terms of warming surface waters and changes in stratification. By critically analyzing these two dissimilar systems they aim to develop a framework for asking questions aimed at the broader social and economic impacts. It is the goal of this research to not only quantitatively examine the relationship between physical-chemical structure of the water column and diminishing fisheries but also to explore the direct and indirect effects of stratification regimes on local communities. Some of the impacts they will explore through this research include job provisioning in rural communities, the equity of reparations to the Sami people under changing fisheries conditions and the reassessment of protected habitat. Jemma is excited for the upcoming challenges and opportunities of international collaboration in an unfamiliar ecosystem.  She hopes to, through learning about issues related to climate change in the Artic, come away from this experience with the ability to more critically view her work in the tropics.

Tamara Marcus
University of New Hampshire

Tamara is a graduate student in the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests include using bioinformatic techniques to understand the impact of warming on microbial mediation of carbon emissions from Arctic lakes. Additionally, she studies how indigenous communities access weather and climate data to better understand how to make results from climate research more accessible and applicable to individuals and communities. Using a combination of survey data and storytelling, Tamara works with Sami communities and indigenous Australians to record environmental change observed by the traditional owners of the land. Through this work, she hopes to promote the collaborative development of conservation policy by both scientists and indigenous communities. Previously, Tamara has worked with non-profits and local governments in the Indian Himalaya to translate the results of her research into local environmental policy. Tamara has been a Fulbright-Nehru fellow, a NASA New Hampshire Space Grant fellow, and a National Center for Atmospheric Research fellow and completed her B.S. in biochemistry and English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Christine Parisek
University of California, Davis

Christine's early work on Coast Range Newts (Taricha torosa) engendered an interest and appreciation for life-history theory and local adaptations to environmental heterogeneity. Over time, and notably through projects at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), she became increasingly focused on high alpine freshwater ecosystems and their potential as models for testing deeper ecological questions. For her MS, Christine investigated the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of aquatic insects in lentic and lotic ecosystems in the northern Sierra Nevada in California, USA. Ultimately, Christine endeavored to advance fisheries conservation and management issues in California’s Sierra Nevada, but also other mountain lake rich portions of the globe. 

Christine is currently exploring the abundance, distribution, and food web ecology of California alpine lake ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada. While a global-scale analysis has not been part of her work to date, Christine has growing interests in understanding landscape limnology patterns occurring across scales. During her LOREX exchange, Christine will work closely with David Seekell and Cristian Gudasz from Umeå University in Sweden to evaluate spatial variance in global lake counts. The analysis will also yield valuable information for use in developing similar smaller-scale analyses for California. Finally, Christine aims to make the data products, code, and provenance from her LOREX work completely open such that future researchers may benefit from efforts developed as part of this exchange.

Christine’s other interests include scientific communication, biological illustration, and she is passionate about promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equity in STEM. Her career goal is to advance the fields of limnology, freshwater ecology, and the physical sciences through multifaceted team science collaboration. Locally, Christine aims to understand the understudied California Sierra Nevada lakes and streams and support freshwater ecosystem diversity. 

Phoenix Rogers
University of Alabama

Phoenix is a central Wisconsin native, where his love for fishing turned into a passion for better understanding aquatic ecosystems. This motivated Phoenix to attain a B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL). During his time at UWL Phoenix was involved in numerous projects focused on stream systems. He investigated ecosystem-level effects of methylmercury in at-risk rivers, determined the susceptibility of local streams to future climate change using air-water temperature relationships, and measured the temporal variability of whole-stream ecosystem metabolism in a nearby stream. Phoenix is now a PhD student in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Alabama working with Dr. Jon Benstead to research the impacts of warming on forested stream macro invertebrate communities and ecosystem processes they provide. Their research group is artificially warming a forested stream by ~4°C and Pheonix’s role is determining how that impacts invertebrate secondary production, community assemblage, and material flow within the stream. Aquatic macro invertebrates play a crucial role in stream ecosystems, yet little work has investigated their response to future climate change. With the LOREX program, Pheonix will be working with Dr. Ryan Sponseller at Umeå University in Sweden and expanding his dissertation to include macro invertebrate communities in arctic streams. He and his group will be using the vegetation gradient within the Miellajokka catchment of northern Sweden to model the impacts of future climate change. The natural gradient in temperature, light, and productivity represents the expected future climate induced changes. This will be used to characterize patterns in macro invertebrate composition and growth rate of key taxa amongst streams in this catchment, modeling how future climate change will impact these vulnerable arctic ecosystems. Phoenix is eager to start on this project and excited to meet/collaborate with international colleagues!


Dalhousie University, Canada

The Department of Oceanography

Kelly Luis
University of Massachusetts Boston

Kelly is a PhD student in the Marine Science and Technology program at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. Her thesis focuses on using ocean color remote sensing sensors for water quality monitoring. For her proposed research project, Kelly will be working with Dr. Paul Hill at Dalhousie University to quantify river discharge from remote sensing platforms. Fluctuating river discharges are associated with climate change and other anthropogenic effects. Systematic measurements of river discharge are necessary for monitoring and managing river systems but gathering such in situ data at fine spatio-temporal scales can be logistically challenging and costly. Publicly available ocean color remote sensing imagery from high spatial resolution satellites can be used to monitor river systems. Thus, the goal of the proposed project is to evaluate remotely sensed proxies for river discharge using the Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 satellites. The project objectives include: 1) compiling in situ and satellite datasets over the Connecticut River Estuary, 2) comparing Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 reflectance in the red wavelengths with river discharge, and 3) comparing Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 river widths to river discharge. The results from this work will help determine the applicability of remotely sensed proxies for river discharge estimation, and it will lay the groundwork for applying these proxies to other river systems. 

Catherine (Catrina) Nowakowski 
University of Rhode Island

Catrina is a PhD student using stable isotopes as tracers to study how our warming climate changes marine ecosystems through bottom up processes. She is a third-year student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography with Dr. Kelton McMahon and will be working with Dr. Owen Sherwood next summer at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Her thesis aims to provide historical context changes in food web regimes, biogeochemical cycling, and export production in the Gulf of Maine as a function of climate using cutting-edge compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) methods. 

 During her LOREX project at Dalhousie University, Catrina will apply CSIA methods to recently collected deep-sea corals (2017-2020) from the Gulf of Maine to reconstruct long term (fifty year), high resolution (annual) records of changes in export production dynamics since the 1970s. This will entail generating a timeseries of δ15N-based CSIA metrics representing source nitrogen, trophic transfer, and microbial reworking of sinking organic matter recorded in the proteinaceous skeletons of Primnoa resedaeformis corals within the context of the broader Gulf of Maine trophic biology and nitrogen cycling. While in the program, her goals are to expand on analytical skills in dating coral growth rings and analyzing samples for amino acid-specific N isotopes; as well as to develop new collaborations with colleagues interested in paleoceanography. Her research explores the dynamics of large-scale ocean systems that are not constrained by international boarders, and she is excited to work with the ASLO LOREX program to build the necessary bridges across international borders to tackle these global-scale questions.   

Rachel Presley
University of Maine

Rachel obtained her BS in Freshwater and Marine Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and her MS in Biology from the University of West Florida. Rachel’s master’s thesis examined the role of nitrogen fixation in subtropical seagrass bed sediments. She is currently working on her PhD in Oceanography at the University of Maine. Her dissertation is focused on understanding how the organic carbon to nitrate ratio, the primary controlling factor on competition between nitrate reduction processes (denitrification, anaerobic ammonium oxidation—anammox—, and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium—DNRA), affects the dominance of nitrate reduction process in the anaerobic layer of marine sediment. She conducts experiments that have sediment thin discs placed into a flow-through reactor, which acts as a chemostat, to address this problem. Rachel’s dissertation also looks at the microbial assemblages in the anaerobic, nitrate-reducing sediment layer. Additionally, she is studying nitrogen cycling dynamics in Maine’s coastal sediments in areas that experience anthropogenic impacts and unimpacted areas.  

During the LOREX program, Rachel will be using data from her thin disc experiments, which aim to determine whether there are distinct tipping points along a range of organic carbon to nitrate ratios at which dominance between the three nitrate reducing processes switches as suggested by a modeling study by Algar and Vallino (2014). At Dalhousie University, she will be working with Dr. Chris Algar to develop and build inverse models to interpret these results. The model will be fit to the measured inorganic nitrogen species using denitrification and DNRA rates as parameters. This modeling exercise will allow her to determine if the energy yield and thermodynamic favorability of a reaction is or is not more important than biology and organism specific properties in determining the partitioning between nitrate reduction processes. In addition to accomplishing these research-specific goals, Rachel hopes to expand her professional network outside of the United States and establish relationships with other researchers, who she could potentially collaborate with in the future. 

Interuniversity Group in Limnology (GRIL)

Montréal, Québec, Canada
Website: http://www.gril-limnologie.ca/

Lara Jansen
Portland State University

Lara is a PhD student at Portland State University in her second year, studying the abiotic factors, such as phosphorus levels, and biotic factors, such as non-native fish, influencing cyanobacteria blooms in high-elevation lakes. She has over seven years of research experience in aquatic systems from studying pH regulation mechanisms in leopard sharks to nutrient cycling in subtropical wetlands. Lara completed her BS in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution at University of California, San Diego and Masters in Natural Resources at Humboldt State University. Over time in her research work, Lara has become increasingly fascinated by how the environment shapes community structure and function, ultimately influencing ecosystem processes like primary productivity. Through the LOREX program, she will work with Dr. Jesse Shapiro’s lab on high throughput sequencing to identify cyanobacteria at the strain level, which is crucial as toxin-production and bloom formation varies within a genus, in mountain lakes across elevational (as a proxy for temperature) and phosphorus gradients. Based upon previous studies, she expects bloom-forming and toxic strains to be more prevalent at the relatively higher temperatures and phosphorus concentrations. This collaborative project fits within a larger international study led by Dr. Shapiro, DNA sequencing cyanobacteria from many North American lakes. Lara seeks to understand how to effectively carry out a genomics project from planning to sequencing data processing. In addition, she hopes to network with the larger limnology community at GRIL -University of Montreal and learn about other unique research like the Large Experimental Array of Ponds. Ultimately, Lara is excited to lead a collaborative study, building relationships to explore new avenues of study with a combined knowledge base. 

Carrie Ann Sharitt
Miami University

Carrie Ann is a second-year graduate student at Miami University (Ohio). Growing up, she spent lots of time outdoors exploring local beaches and swamps as well as camping with her family. In undergrad, Carrie Ann majored in Biology and Secondary Education which allowed her to pursue ecology interests and also share her passions with others. Afterwards, she spent four years teaching middle and high school science in Atlanta, GA. In her free time, Carrie Ann enjoys working puzzles, reading, and a variety of crafts including photography and coloring. She also loves traveling and is currently planning a solo trip to Tanzania to visit Gombe National Park.  

In terms of research, Carrie Ann is broadly interested in the role consumers play in nutrient cycling as they release nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus largely through excretion and egestion. Factors such temperature and population biomass are known to impact the overall amount of nutrients released from aquatic consumers. However, little is known about how parasites impact nutrient excretion from aquatic consumers; yet, parasites will increase in abundance and intensity under many climate change models. Through the LOREX program, Carrie Ann aims to better understand the synergistic influence of climate warming and parasite burden on animal excretion. Working with GRIL researchers at Station de Biologie des Laurentides, pumpkinseed fish will be exposed to temperatures increases as well as various trematode infection burdens. After allowing the fish to acclimate for several weeks, nutrient excretion will be measured across treatments. A subsample of fish will also be used to understand how warming temperatures and parasites alter stoichiometry of fish body tissues. It is anticipated that nutrient excretion will increase with elevated parasite burden and higher temperatures. 

Southern Cross University, Australia

National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbor

Amy Moody
University of Southern Mississippi

Amy is a third year PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi studying the impacts of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on the Mississippi Sound. SGD is the combined flow of freshwater from aquifers and the circulation of seawater through sediments that occurs along the coastline and across the continental shelf. It is an important, yet often overlooked, part of global nutrient, trace metal, and carbon inputs to the ocean. SGD can greatly affect the water quality of coastal environments, especially in areas that are already vulnerable to eutrophication (excess nutrients) and hypoxia (low oxygen). Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes or Lagoons (ICOLLs), also known as coastal lagoons or estuaries in some regions, are common ecosystems along the world’s shorelines and often experience hypoxia. Previous work done along the coast of Australia has indicated that groundwater may be up to 90% of water input to ICOLLs. Amy will build on this work by assessing whether SGD drives widespread hypoxia in ICOLLs. Radon, radium, nutrients, nutrient/water isotopes, and physicaparameters within four ICOLLs will be determined to understand the effects of SGD on the water quality. These are highly sensitive estuarine environments, and understanding the fluxes that affect water quality will be useful in protecting and maintaining them. This study will highlight the importance of SGD in the coastal ocean and elucidate the link between SGD and hypoxia. This program will also help foster an international professional and academic network outside of the United States, which is vital to solving global water crises and pollution issues.  Groundwater discharge and potential contamination needs more attention, especially considering the majority of freshwater utilized in the world by humanity is groundwater. Amy is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of the groundwater system outside local regions as an important part of her career path. 

Stephanie J. Wilson
Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Stephanie is currently a Ph.D. student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She is interested in marine biogeochemistry and specifically nutrient cycling in coastal ecosystems. Nitrogen is an important limiting nutrient for primary production in marine ecosystems. Her current research focuses on the sources, fates, and cycling of nitrogen in a subterranean estuary (STE) in Virginia, USA. STEs form at the coastline where groundwater is advected and mixes with overlying seawater. STEs may act as either sources or sinks of nitrogen to overlying seawater. Stephanie’s LOREX project will focus on the question: are subterranean estuaries a source or sink of nitrogen to the coastal ocean? To address this question, data compiled from STE’s around the world will be used to complete a meta-analysis of nitrogen in STEs. The STEs will be grouped by features such as sediment type and location before examining nitrogen concentrations along salinity gradients to determine source or sink behavior. The outcomes of this project have important implications regarding the cycling of groundwater nitrogen as it is discharged through STEs to the global ocean. Stephanie will be collaborating with Dr. Isaac Santos at Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbor to complete this work. As a part of the LOREX program, she looks forward to learning more about international collaboration, creating new connections with other program participants as well as colleagues at the host institution, and developing new research skills and techniques.  


Southern Cross University, Australia

Southern Cross University at Lismore

Alia N. Al-Haj
Boston University

Alia is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at Boston University studying coastal biogeochemistry in Dr. Robinson “Wally” Fulweiler’s lab. Her dissertation focuses on methane cycling in seagrass meadows. Methane has a global warming potential 34x that of carbon dioxide on a 100-year time scale. Seagrasses play an important role in the marine carbon cycle, with a hectare burying 10x more carbon than terrestrial forests. However, there is little information on carbon lost from seagrasses via methane emissions. This information is critical when assessing the net benefit of seagrass ecosystems as a greenhouse gas sink. The few studies that have quantified diffusive methane fluxes from seagrasses report that these ecosystems are methane sources. While there are a small number of studies on diffusive air-sea emissions of methane from seagrasses, to date there is little understanding of methane transport pathways in seagrass ecosystems. Alia will be working with Dr. Damien Maher at Southern Cross University on quantifying methane transport pathways in seagrass meadows. Her goals for her time in the LOREX program include (1) determining the dominant physical pathway for methane transport to the atmosphere in seagrass meadows, (2) determining the dominant mechanism for methanogenesis and methanotrophy in seagrass dominated sediments using isotopic analyses, and (3) developing a methane budget for a subtropical basin. Their results will help determine a more accurate carbon storage capacity of seagrass meadows. 

Kalina C. Grabb
MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Kalina has always had a strong passion for the ocean and she feels lucky to be able to combine her background in earth science and environmental engineering with her interests in oceanography. She has been able to explore this passion as a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) Joint Program, in the department of chemical oceanography. Her Ph.D. focuses on reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are short-lived oxygen-containing molecules that play essential roles in the health and biogeochemistry of the ocean. Traditionally ROS production is attributed to stress within organisms, however, evidence is mounting that extracellular ROS is beneficial for organisms, including corals. Most of Kalina’s thesis is focused on the ROS dynamics associated with corals in order to better understand coral health. In order to characterize the production and decay mechanisms of ROS associated with coral, it is essential to investigate the reactions of ROS with other substances (i.e. metals and minerals) present within the environment. The LOREX program presents an opportunity for Kalina to collaborate with Dr. Andrew Rose at Southern Cross University in order to complete the first systematic study that directly explores the reaction between one specific ROS, superoxide, and Fe(III)-bearing minerals. The goal of this project is to identify other potential sources and sinks of ROS. Through this, we can better understand how superoxide alters the redox environment and interacts with the iron redox cycle within Fe(III)-bearing minerals. This study will characterize the impact of ROS on redox conditions within the environment and places Kalina’s Ph.D. thesis research in larger context by providing an insight to the links between ROS and other biogeochemical cycles. Overall, this opportunity will provide Kalina with the opportunity to establish an international collaboration between two of the leading labs in ROS and minerology. 

Josué G. Millán
Indiana State University

Josué is a Ph.D. student from Puerto Rico at Indiana State University pursuing a degree in Spatial and Earth Sciences. His research focus is in Earth evolution, the intersection of geology and biology and the complex interactions between life and the environment. He is specifically interested in understanding the sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and the oceanic geochemical cycling of carbon. Phytoplankton forms the bases of the marine food web and plays an essential role in the oceans Carbon pump. The nature of primary productivity and phytoplankton dynamics is crucial for the management of our natural resources as well to understand what role they will play in modern climate variability. The results of his LOREX project intent to be used to validate existing biogeochemical models and provide better parameters for new ones to understand atmospheric-oceanic systems. 

Since the beginning of his academic life, Josué’s goal was to become part of the nationally constant influx of Latinos in STEM that contributes and promotes a tidal wave of knowledge and positive change to our society. The current role of a scientist in society is changing and expanding. Josué has realized that his generation has the responsibility to reestablish the leading role the scientific community had in guiding our nation. Through his journey, Josué has learned that he is passionate about interdisciplinary research that brings together different scientific disciplines. The understanding of life on our planet and beyond is something that he finds amazing and stunning, with a central emphasis on the interconnections of biogeochemistry, molecular biology, and environmental processes. Hence, his research aspirations are defined by time: past, present, and future. For that reason, Josué’s research interest includes understanding the origins of life and speciation, examining the response of ecosystems to current environmental change, and the feasibility of life beyond our planet. Recently, Jos haintegrated scientific advocacy to his aspirations due to the importance it brings to do science with courage and determination. 


Inter University Institute for Marine Science in Eilat, Israel

Eilat, Israel

Ben Martin
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ben is currently a PhD student in the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where his thesis focuses on disturbances in aquatic food webs including the invasion of Spiny Water Flea to inland Wisconsin lakes and the decline in Great Lakes Cisco community. Much of Ben’s research incorporates geometric morphometric techniques to understand ecomorphology in fishes as well as stable isotope analysis to understand food web relationships. Ben is especially interested in applied ecological questions with an eco-evolutionary twist. Through ASLO LOREX, Ben will be studying the body morphology of Rabbitfish in both their native range of the Red Sea and their invaded range of the Mediterranean Sea. Further, using the extensive fish preserved fish collection at the Tel Aviv Zoological Museum, Ben will quantify Rabbitfish morphology changes throughout their ~60 years of invasion. Ben notes that while ecological invasions are damaging, he enjoys studying them as they are a unique opportunity to study evolution at a reasonable timescale.  Ben is excited for the opportunity to apply similar techniques and ecological theory as his thesis to a vastly different ecosystem than he has previously worked in. Additionally, he looks forward to experiencing international collaboration and the student cohort community in the LOREX program. 

Mallory Ringham
MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Mallory is a PhD candidate in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Chemical Engineering, where she works on methods to study the marine carbon cycle in coastal oceans. Her thesis focuses on the development of an autonomous dissolved inorganic carbon sensor which will be deployed in an experiment to study inorganic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation in the Red Sea, as well as from a remotely operated vehicle at sea to study carbonate chemistry across deep coral reefs on the West Florida shelf. Mallory holds a Masters in Earth Sciences focused on development of the carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometer in desert soils, and a Bachelors in Physics and Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University. When she is not in the lab, she can be found roaming around Cape Cod, running, biking, and gardening as much as possible.    

A fundamental pathway in the marine carbon cycle is the biological precipitation of calcium carbonate as shells and skeletons. Inorganic CaCO3 precipitation is generally assumed to be insignificant in marine carbon cycling, but laboratory experiments and observations in certain settings, like in the Little Bahama Banks, have shown that inorganic CaCO3 precipitation may occur on suspended sediments, which can enter coastal waters through floods, rivers, dust, and resuspension events. The goal of this project is to evaluate the significance of this type of CaCO3 precipitation in the Red Sea at Eilat, Israel, where warm water temperatures, high CaCOsupersaturation, and large particle loads from the surrounding desert may trigger inorganic CaCO3 precipitation. At IUI, she will work on a coastal mesocosm experiment from which bottle samples and in-situ chemical sensors measurements (including pH, pCO2, and a newly developed dissolved inorganic carbon sensor from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) will allow us to track high resolution carbonate precipitation during simulated flood and airborne dust deposition events. 


University of Haifa, Israel

The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, Haifa

Jessica Hillhouse
Texas A&M University at Galveston

Jessica started working in a phytoplankton physiology lab after she received her Bachelor’s degree in 2015. Most of the research she has been involved in up until this point has focused on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 and the effects it had on the microbial community. She has recently decided to go back to school for her master’s degree in Marine Biology. Although her background is in oil spill research, she decided to change direction a little bit for her Master’s project. Her thesis project, done through the LOREX program at the University of Haifa in Israel, will be investigating the physiological responses of coastal phytoplankton species when exposed to the brine effluent released from desalination plants. In addition, she is interested to see if changes in water quality caused by a these plants affect coastal phytoplankton communities in such a way that would negatively affect the plant itself. Desalination plants help to supplement freshwater where traditional resources can no longer sustain a population or a region. It is expected that the amount of desalination plants will increase globally as population continues to grow. As desalination plants become necessary in new locations around the world, the observations from this experiment could help predict potential changes to the affected coastal phytoplankton communities. Her goals for the LOREX program are to gain a better understanding of phytoplankton communities affected by desalination plants, and to contribute to a relatively sparse body of knowledge that is bound to become increasingly relevant as the world’s population continues to grow, and water shortages become a more common problem.

Hunter Hughes
University of Maryland

Hunter is Master’s student at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. His thesis revolves around how coral skeletal geochemistry is used to reconstruct past ocean conditions. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Tree Rings of the Ocean’, corals produce seasonal growth bands in their skeletons. If paleo-oceanographers measure particular geochemical proxies in those growth bands, such as skeletal strontium-to-calcium ratios (Sr/Ca), they can reconstruct past ocean temperatures and better inform models that seek to predict future changes in climate. Specifically, Hunter looks at variability in seawater Sr/Ca ratios to see how small changes in local seawater chemistry can make large impacts on coral Sr/Ca-based temperature reconstructions. Through the ASLO LOREX program, Hunter will be working with Dr. Tali Mass in Haifa, Israel. There he will measure seawater Sr/Ca ratios in the Red Sea to better inform coral paleoclimate studies about the potential mechanisms and drivers for seawater Sr/Ca variability.   

 Prior to his master’s program, Hunter took what is commonly called a ‘non-traditional’ path to the sciences. After receiving a B.A. from Emerson College in English and Journalism, Hunter went on to work in the sales industry for two years. In the Spring of 2014, he returned to school to complete a variety of math and science courses with the goal of being admitted into a master’s program for paleoclimatology. He spent a year working as a research technician on a remote marine field station before gaining acceptance into the Marnie-Estuarine Environmental Program through the University of Maryland. He has presented this research at multiple conferences and looks forward to continuing his studies of paleoclimatology by obtaining a doctorate in Oceanography. Outside of his research, Hunter is passionate about outreach, science communication, and creative outlets for both individual and shared expression. 

Alanna Mnich
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Alanna is a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, where she studies the interdisciplinary connection between biogeochemistry and fisheries. Before beginning her PhD studies, Alanna graduated from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in 2017 with majors in biology and marine science and minors in chemistry and psychology. Her undergraduate thesis research focused on identification and distribution patterns of larval cephalopods of the Eastern Caribbean during an anomalous freshwater plume year. After completing her degree, Alanna went on to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where she participated in research projects studying the early life history of Atlantic bluefin tuna. For her thesis work, Alanna hopes to use her background in bluefin as well as her interest in biogeochemistry to build a project utilizing signatures in seawater that can be applied to better understand life history strategies and food web dynamics. Her LOREX project will serve to achieve that goal. Alanna will be working as part of a larger study with goals to measure taxa-specific variability and the various phytoplankton C:N:P ratios in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with regards to natural and manipulated difference in N:P supply ratio, and to determine which phytoplankton taxa of that area are the dominant drivers of local carbon export. She will be primarily focused on the manipulations of the study in the form of mesocosm experiments. This specific aspect of the project will show stoichiometric ratios of nitrogen and phosphorous in Eastern Mediterranean phytoplankton as they are subjected to varying environmental conditions.   

Amanda Williams 
Rutgers University

Amanda is from New Jersey and obtained a BA in chemistry. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Biochemistry and Microbiology Department at Rutgers in the lab of Dr. Debashish Bhattacharya. For her thesis, Amanda is taking a multi-omics (metabolomic, metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, proteomic) approach in understanding coral health to aid conservation. The main goal of her work will be to identify metabolic activity linked to various forms of stress, in addition to adaptation responses, throughout the holobiont. In order to achieve this, she is currently working on identifying novel coral metabolites and their perspective gene clusters in Montipora capitata. This is the work Amanda will be continuing at the University of Haifa with Dr. Tali Mass. During her LOREX project, Amanda will be growing various coral species in the Red Sea and Mediterranean under multiple stressors (high radiation, high acidity, and elevated temperatures) to determine the metabolic response of the holobiont to future coral ecosystem conditions. Unfortunately, 25% of coral reefs are already considered damaged beyond repair because of human ignorance. It will take more than one field to correct the effect humans have had on the coral holobiont. Therefore, Amanda is also taking part in a fellowship at Rutgers designed to help communicate science by educating fellows to combine scientific knowledge with the economic, engineering, political, and outreach expertise to reverse climate change. Amanda hopes that the LOREX program can assist her in learning how to communicate and educate others on scientific or conservation issues. 

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